Thomas Foster PhD

Professor of Anthropology Henry Kendall College of Arts & Sciences


H. Thomas Foster's teaching and research uses models of economic behavior to understand how humans react to and manage environmental and social variability and how those decisions in turn affect resources in the biophysical environment. As an archaeologist, he has been using the time depth of archaeological and historical data to test models about resilience and adaptation among the Native Americans of the southeastern United States and Caribbean in response to colonialism and ecological change. Thomas has published this research in three books and in journals such as Human Ecology, Human Organization, American Antiquity, the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, and the Journal of Anthropological Research. He is currently working on projects in the U.S. Virgin Islands and on an NSF funded project to identify the resilience of the Muscogee Creek people in the face of economic change and anthropogenic effects on their environment. This interdisciplinary project includes collaboration between The University of Tulsa, University of Arizona, Pennsylvania State University, Columbus State, University of West Florida, and the descendant communities. Understanding how human societies adapt to regime change and the long term effects of those changes on ecosystems is an important line of research for modern environmental managers and policy makers. Foster's specialty in anthropogenic and historical ecology has developed into a unique application of anthropology research. He has published on the use of archaeological information for modern environmental management and serves as co-chair of the steering committee for Past Global Changes in the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) which is funded by the NSF in the United States and Switzerland. Foster is working with the IGBP to inform international policy and research on environmental changes.

Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
M.A., Pennsylvania State University
B.A., University of Georgia

(1) Archaeology (2) Historical and Behavioral Ecology (3) Anthropogenic Effects on the Environment (4) Quantitative Models of Economic and Evolutionary Behavior (5) Caribbean, Historic Period Muskogee Creek Indians, Mississippian Period Native Americans (6) GIS and Spatial Analysis (7) Public Education and Heritage Preservation.

The following may be selected publications rather than a comprehensive list.


Foster, Howard, Lisa Paciulli, and David Goldstein. Viewing the Future in the Past: Historical Ecology Applied to Environmental Problems. . University of South Carolina Press, 2016. Print.

2007, Foster, Thomas. Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715-1836. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Foster, Howard. The Collected Works of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1810. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. , 2003. Print.

2003, Foster, Thomas, editor. The Collected Works of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1810. University of Alabama, Press Tuscaloosa

Book Chapter

2007, Bonhage Freund, Mary Theresa and Thomas Foster. A Paleoethnobotany of Muskogee Creek Indian Agricultural and Garden Systems in Southeastern North America. In The Archaeology of Crop Fields and Gardens, edited by Jean-Paul Morel, et al. Edipulgia, Bari

Book Reviews

2004, Foster, Thomas. Book Review, Historic Indian towns in Alabama, 1540-1836, Amos Wright, Jr. American Antiquity 69(4): 791-792

2000, Foster, Thomas. Book Review, Indians of the Greater Southeast, Bonnie McEwan, ed. Journal of Archaeological Science, 23 (2/4): 23-25

Journal Articles

2015, Foster, Thomas, David Goldstein, and Lisa Paciulli. How archaeology and the historical sciences can save the world. In Viewing the Future in the Past: Historical Ecology applied to Environmental Problems. Foster, Thomas, Lisa Paciulli, and David Goldstein, editors. University of South Carolina Press.

2015, Dearing, J.A., B. Acma, S. Bub, F. Chambers, X. Chen, J. Cooper, D. Crook, Xuhui Dong, M. Dotterweich, M.E. Edwards, H.T. Foster, II,M.J. Gaillard, D. Galop, P. Gell, A. Gil, E. Jeffers, R.T. Jones, A. Krishnamurty, P.G. Langdon, C. McLean, L.H. Nunes, M. Umer, Xiangdong Yang, Rong Wang. Social Ecological Systems in the Anthropocene: the important role for integrating social and biophysical records at regional scales. The Anthropocene Review .

2015, Foster Thomas. Variable Biodiversity from Managed Ecosystems in Long Term Chronosequences from the Southeastern United States. In Viewing the Future in the Past: Historical Ecology applied to Environmental Problems. Foster, Thomas, Lisa Paciulli, and David Goldstein, editors. University of South Carolina Press.

2013, Thomas and Matthew Boehm. An analysis of Native American trade from Factory records of the early nineteenth century in Georgia. Southeastern Archaeology 32: 271-283

2012, Foster, Thomas. Archaeological and ethnohistoric evidence of the Yuchi Indians along the Chattahoochee and Flint water sheds in the southeastern United States. In Yuchi Indian Histories before the Removal Era, Jason Jackson, editor. University of Nebraska Press.

2011, Dearing, John, Markus Dotterweich, Thomas Foster. Editorial: Integrative Paleoscience for Sustainable Management. Past Global Changes, 19(2): 43. International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, 2011

2011, Foster, Thomas. Managing biodiversity using long-term regional data in the southeastern United States. Past Global Changes, 19(2): 56-57. International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, 2011.

2010, Foster, Thomas. Cultural Continuity and Variable Adaptation of the Historic Period Muskogee of the Southeastern United States. North American Archaeologist. 30(3): 259-290

2010, Foster, H. Thomas, II, Virginia H. Dale and Lisa Olsen. Environmental Management and Policy Using Ecological Indicators Derived from Archaeological and Historical Data. In Archaeology of Anthropogenic Environments, edited by R. Dean. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, 321-340

2010, Foster, Thomas. Risk Management among Native American Horticulturalists of the Southeastern United States (1715-1825). Journal of Anthropological Research 66(1): 69-96

2010, Foster, Thomas. Risk Management among Native American Horticulturalists of the Southeastern United States (1715-1825). Journal of Anthropological Research 66(1): 69-96

2010, Foster, Thomas and Arthur Cohen. Sampling of Data Derived from Historical Documents in Anthropological Research. American Antiquity 75(4): 973-977.

2010, Foster, Thomas, Lisa Olsen, Virginia Dale, and Arthur Cohen. Studying the Past for the Future: Managing Modern Biodiversity from Historic and Prehistoric Data. Human Organization 69(2): 149-157.

2009, Foster, Thomas. Seventy Years of Research of Architecture at a Muscogee Creek Town at Fort Benning, Georgia. Early Georgia 37(2): 141-164

2007, Olsen, Lisa M., Dale, Virginia H. and H. Thomas Foster, II. Landscape patterns as indicators of ecological change at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning 79(2):137-149

2007, Foster, Thomas and Arthur Cohen. Palynological evidence of the effects of the deer skin trade on eighteenth century forests of southeastern North America. American Antiquity 72(1): 35-52

2004, Foster, Thomas, Bryan Black, and Marc Abrams. A witness tree analysis of the effects of Native American Indians on the pre-European settlement forests in east central Alabama. Human Ecology 32(1): 27-47

2004, Foster, Thomas. Evidence of Historic Creek Indian migration from a regional and direct historic analysis of ceramic types. Southeastern Archaeology 23(1): 65-84

2004, Dale, V H., P. Mulholland, L. Olsen, J. Feminella, K. Maloney, D.C. White, A. Peacock, and T. Foster. Selecting a suite of ecological indicators for resource management, Landscape Ecology and Wildlife Habitat Evaluation: Critical Information for Ecological Risk Assessment, Land-Use Management Activities and Biodiversity Enhancement Practices, ASTM STP 1458, L. A. Kapustka, H. Gilbraith, M. Luxon, and G. R. Biddinger, Eds., ASTM International, West Conshohocken, Pa.

2003, Foster, Thomas. Dynamic optimization of horticulture among the Muscogee Creek Indians of the Southeastern United States. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22(4): 411-424

2002, Black, Bryan, Thomas Foster, and Marc D. Abrams. Combining environmentally dependent and environmentally independent analysis of witness tree data in East- Central Alabama. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research 32 (11): 2060-2075

1997, Hatch, James, Jerald Ledbetter, Adam King, Peter Van Rossum, Thomas Foster, and Ervan Garrison. Excavations at the Marshal Site (9OC25). Early Georgia 25 (2): 1-35

Technical Reports

2015. Foster, H. Thomas, II and Nancy Katherine Garner, editors. Apalachicola Ecosystems Project: Report of Investigations 2006-2014. Department of Anthropology, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104

2015. Oldewale, Alicia, Thomas Foster, and Joshua Torres. Phase I Archaeological Investigations of the Danish West Indies Guinea Company Warehouse, Christiansted NHS: Investigating Risk Mitigation Among Enslaved Africans. Report submitted to the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Christiansted National Historic Site, CHRI-93. Department of Anthropology, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

2015. Clardy, Kelsey and H. Thomas Foster, II. The Muscogee Creek Council House. Report prepared for the Muscogee Creek Nation, Cultural Center and Archives, Oklmulgee, Oklahoma. Department of Anthropology, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bell, Colleen, and Howard Foster. Archaeological Survey of Sections of the Deep Fork Wildlife Management Area, Creek County, Oklahoma. Department of Anthropology, The University of Tulsa, 2013. Print.

2006, Foster, H. Thomas, II. Excavations at the Muskogee Town of Cussetuh (9CE1). Prepared for The University of Arkansas, Department of Anthropology and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center-Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. Northern Kentucky University and BHE Environmental, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio 45246.


2010, Foster, Thomas. Fort Apalachicola. In Encyclopedia of Alabama. Wayne Flynt, Robert Jakeman, and J. Steven Murray, editors. Alabama Humanities Foundation and Auburn University, Auburn

2007, Foster, Thomas. Benjamin Hawkins. In Encyclopedia of Alabama. Wayne Flynt, Robert Jakeman, and J. Steven

2006, Foster, Thomas. Review of Cultural Anthropology, McGraw Hill Higher Education

2005, Foster, Thomas. Review of Thinking Like an Anthropologist. By John Omohundro. McGraw Hill Higher Education

International Association of Caribbean Archaeology
American Anthropological Association (Life)
American Association for the Advancement of Science
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme - Past Global Changes
Society for American Archaeology
Southeastern Archaeological Conference (Life)

ANTH 1063 Culture, People and Nature: General Anthropology
ANTH 2053 Cultures Before History: Archaeology
ANTH 4503 Topics in Prehistory
ANTH 4513 Regional Studies in Prehistory
ANTH 7073 Cultural Resources Management
ANTH 7113 Seminar in the Design and Administration Of Archaeological Research
ANTH 7293 Human Behavioral Ecology
ANTH 7983 Thesis
ANTH 7993 Independent Research
ANTH 9983 Research and Dissertation
TURC 1981 TURC Junior Scholar